Wild in Tasmania for 150 years

Roger Butler
Former Red Tag owner/operator Roger Butler, getting into character for the 150 year celebration documentary.
When brown trout were first introduced into Tasmania in 1864 (150 years ago), it is doubtful anyone realized what a sustainable quality recreational and economic benefit they would become.

The introduction of brown trout to Tasmania was the first in the Southern hemisphere, with subsequent transfers of our brown’s to New Zealand and other countries south of the equator.

The original trout eggs were collected from the rivers Wey and Itchen in England by Sir James Arndell Youl and William Ramsbottom who, on the third attempt, succeeded in transporting 3000 live fertile salmon eggs over the three month journey by ship to land and hatch at the Salmon Ponds in Plenty Tasmania.

Salmon were the focus and the priority, however, they weren’t the first to be established for along with the salmon eggs were just over 300 brown trout eggs.

When grown on and released, the salmon headed out to sea and disappeared, whereas the trout went upstream and multiplied. Enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers were the original distributors of the young trout, be it at fry or fingerling stage and horseback, bullocks teams and every type of pre-motorised transport was used to get the fish to the most isolated waters.

Since then trout have spread or been introduced to most inland waters, and thrived in Tasmania’s ideal habitat, with its abundant lakes and rivers, rugged topography and temperate climate.

Wild populations exist in even the most remote highland waters, which are considered the ‘jewels in the crown’ of the Tasmanian fishery. These unique characteristics, combined with the untouched landscape in Tasmania and its disease-free status, have resulted in a fishery of world class standard.

Tasmania’s fishery caters for all angling tastes and skill levels whether you’re a beginner or an expert angler. Be it tailing, rising, foraging or polaroided, sight fishing to close at hand, trout is what marks this fishery as different and exciting.

Bait fishing, lure casting, trolling and fly-fishing are practiced successfully at many waters, but there are some waters reserved for artificial lure and/or fly-fishing only.

Wet fly, dry fly, emergers and nymphs all have their honoured and respected place in the fly box. The dry fly purest and the large wet fly workers, the single fly to the lock-style three fly format, all have their place and give the angler the opportunity to exercise their preferred fishing option.

Trout Fish Tas_150-Year_Logo-270Although the majority of waters have established wild trout populations, some receive wild fry or adults either to supplement fish populations as part of the annual management program or to provide anglers with ready to catch fish, including trophy size trout and salmon in a selected number of popular fishing waters.

Today the Salmon Ponds are a popular attraction featuring the old hatchery, the Tasmanian Anglers Hall of Fame and the Anglers Museum set in beautiful gardens with a delightful restaurant to cater for all visitors.

With a mild temperate climate, cool clear waterways and a pristine environment, Tasmania now has arguably the purest strains of wild brown trout on the planet.

The trout fishery is world class and when value-added by the services offered by our tourism-accredited, registered Trout Guides & Lodges Tasmania Inc (TGALT), it delivers a truly world quality trout/fly fishing experience to visiting anglers.

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